Karnataka may order CBI probe into snooping under Kumaraswamy govt

Bengaluru, Aug 18 (IANS) The Karnataka government plans to soon order a CBI inquiry into the alleged phone-tapping of BJP leaders and 2-3 senior state police officers during the previous JD-S-Congress coalition government, an official said on Sunday.

"Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has decided to hand over the case to the Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI) to find out whose phones were tapped, when, why and who ordered it," an official told IANS here.

There are allegations that during the last few months of his tenure, the H.D. Kumaraswamy government tapped mobile and landline phones of BJP's state leaders, disqualified rebel legislators of the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and three senior IPS officers.

IPS officers -- Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao, his predecessor and Additional Director-General Police (ADGP) of the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) Alok Kumar Singh and another ADGP of the state intelligence wing Kamal Pant -- were reportedly lobbying for Bengaluru city police commissioner's post during that period.

Kumaraswamy opted for Singh, who held the post for 47 days from June 17 to August 1, before Rao was appointed on August 2 and Pant was not considered for the job. Congress power broker Faraz Ahmed is alleged to have played a key role in getting Singh replaced with Rao for the post.

On August 14, Yediyurappa directed state Chief Secretary T.M. Vijaya Bhaskar to probe the case after an interim report by Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) Sandeep Patil revealed that Rao's conversations with Ahmed were tapped thrice between May and June.

After audio tapes containing voices of Rao, Faraz, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and others were leaked to a section of the local media, Kumaraswamy refuted that he ordered tapping of their phones.

"I will write to the CBI on Monday seeking a probe into the phone-tapping charge as demanded by the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah and his party's other leaders and members," Yediyurappa told repoters here.

Kumaraswamy resigned on July 23 after he lost the trust vote in the state legislative Assembly that he moved on July 18, as the 15 rebel lawmakers resigned before they were disqualified.

Disqualified JD-S rebel A.H. Vishwanath also accused Kumaraswamy of snooping.

Yediyurappa, 76, who became chief minister for the fourth time on July 26, is also the state home minister as he has not expanded his Cabinet so far.

--IANS

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